Winners’ Praise The Rivals Like Never Before
Malik Jackson isn’t an ordinary coach. Proves are everywhere, especially after his Carlstad Crusaders brilliantly won IFAF Europe Champions League 2015 with 84-49 victory over SBB Vukovi Belgrade in the finals, held in Serbian capitol.
“Oh, I’m very satisfied! You don’t like to give up 49 points, but, we’ll take it, I don’t think the score is on this gold medal. I’m so excited, these Carlstad’s guys were so dedicated that I’m their biggest fan. I’m so happy for them. That was amazing, the way they’ve fought. Two games in just three days, and such performances, I’m beyond excited. This is one of best feelings in my life“, said Jackson.
This 43-year-old coach took Carlstad after their second game of the season, and after work at Californian De Anza College, and especially in the City College of San Francisco, where he won four junior college USA titles as secondary and special teams coach, he’s aware that this success is one of biggest in his career. Especially because of relentless Vukovi.
“I know Myles Gates, Vukovi QB, since 2008, and I knew he would not quit. I coached him, so I knew that if somebody could rally that team, it would be him. Now, I did not all the rest (factors). You know, crowd, chanting, and all that stuff. And, atmosphere was amazing. It really looked like there are two teams that really, really want to win championship. I mean, those guys wanted to win, luckily we kept them from scoring in several occasions, as it was like – they’ve scored, we were scoring, and in the battle for the championship, that’s what you want. They gave us their best, we gave them our best, and… they’ve made couple more mistakes than we did. Without those mistakes, we would probably still be out there, banging into each other in overtimes. That was amazing. Amazing effort. Their coach has those guys, and I have nothing but respect for them, for the whole city of Belgrade, for the crowd. It was amazing. It really was. That was one of better football atmospheres I’ve been part of. And I’m 8,000 miles from home. And when you think of Serbia and sport, you don’t think about American Football, you think of soccer, some other sport, but this...”
Jackson’s praise of rivals is not something you can see everywhere or at any time. But, his words were his prove that in the finals – Carlstad Crusaders faced someone and something special. So, he had a message for all future Vukovi players, especially young ones:
“They should get copy of this game. People should show every youth player, not just in Vukovi, but in whole Serbia, and to ask just one thing from them – Can you match that effort? Okay, these (current, and future players)… they’ll get better as years go on, skill-wise and technique, but all they should look for is that effort that this Vukovi team shown in this IFAF Europe Champions League finals. It should be in Serbian National Archive. The effort that that team put in the finals should go down in the history of this country. There was no lack of effort in any guy from their sideline. From the beginning to the end. It should be rewarded. It should never be forgotten. Honestly. For every youth player, they should play them copy of of this game… okay, maybe they should cut some of our offense (smile), but – that’s what the game of football is. (As coach) You just want that effort. The rest will come, players will develop as time goes by, but you can’t teach effort. That’s just the thing that you have. And that’s what they shown the whole game. I have nothing but respect for them, and everyone from our sideline, too. I can promise you that“, said Malik Jackson, coach of IFAF Europe Champions League 2015 winners, Carlstad Crusaders.